Afrin – Hundreds of Arab families that have been displaced from Syria’s northern city of al-Bab, arrived on Sunday to the Kurdish town of Afrin, northwest of Aleppo, activists reported.
The mass displacement comes amidst a continued military campaign by Turkey and allied rebel groups on al-Bab, in at attempt to push Islamic State’s (ISIS) militants out of the city.
“Today 1450 civilians arrived to Afrin after escaping mounting violence in al-Bab city,” human rights activist Doghan Mirkhan told ARA News in Afrin.
“Local Kurdish organisations in Afrin provided the IDPs with shelter and basic supplies,” he said.
The Kurdish Asayish Security Department in Afrin town said that the number of displaced people from al-Bab could increase in Afrin, urging the international community to provide aid to the displaced civilians.
“As fighting intensifies in al-Bab, we expect more civilians to head towards Afrin, which is now the only safe haven for those displaced families. We hereby call on the UN and other aid organisations to help us provide those civilians with basic supplies and shelter,” the Asayish said.
Battle for al-Bab
Turkey and its rebel allies have been bogged down in al-Bab for almost two months, taking significant casualties without securing any of the city’s neighborhoods. ISIS constructed a warren of tunnels and an extensive trench line in anticipation of the fighting.
On August 24, the Turkish military and allied rebel factions launched Operation Euphrates Shield. As part of the operation, Turkey’s military and its allies took over Jarablus city in August.
In early January, the Russia Air Force conducted several airstrikes near al-Bab, targeting Islamic State’s tactical units and fighting positions. The Russian air raids destroyed at least five ISIS strongholds, killing and wounding dozens of ISIS militants.
On 4 January, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that the Turkey-backed offensive of the Euphrates Shield Operation to take Syria’s al-Bab city from ISIS should conclude soon.
In mid-January, the Syrian regime has also joined the battle for al-Bab city. Analysts believe that the regime is increasingly alarmed by the Turkish advance towards al-Bab, considering it a direct threat to eastern Aleppo, which was recently retaken.
Reporting by: Qehreman Miste | Source: ARA News
For the latest news follow us on Twitter
Join our Weekly Newsletter